Love in the Afternoon (1957)

125 or 130 mins | Romantic comedy | 1957

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HISTORY

The opening credits appear across the window shade of a Paris hotel room that has been drawn against the afternoon sun. At the end of the opening credits, a picture of Paris is shown, followed by a brief montage narrated by Maurice Chevalier, who introduces his character, private detective “Claude Chavasse” by stating, "This is the city, Paris, France.” He then narrates a montage to illustrate his point that, in Paris, when it comes to making love, "everyone does it," from "the butcher" and "the baker" to the "friendly undertaker."
       The montage ends at the Place Vendôme, where Chevalier is standing at the top of the central column, using a camera with a long-range lens to shoot pictures of "Madame X" and her lover, "Frank Flannagan." At the end of the film, Chevalier is seen in the train station, with his voice heard offscreen stating, "On Monday, August 24th of this year, the case of Frank Flannagan and Ariane Chavasse came up before the superior judge in Cannes. They are now married, serving a life sentence in New York, state of New York, U.S.A." Chevalier's narration mimics the style of the popular 1950s television series Dragnet , in which the date, city and case were described at the beginning and ending of each episode.
       As noted in the onscreen credits, the film was shot entirely in Paris. Interiors were filmed at the Studios de Boulogne on the outskirts of Paris, with exterior and background shots of the Ritz Hotel, the Place Vendôme and various Parisian streets. According to an Aug 1957 AmCin article on the production written ... More Less

The opening credits appear across the window shade of a Paris hotel room that has been drawn against the afternoon sun. At the end of the opening credits, a picture of Paris is shown, followed by a brief montage narrated by Maurice Chevalier, who introduces his character, private detective “Claude Chavasse” by stating, "This is the city, Paris, France.” He then narrates a montage to illustrate his point that, in Paris, when it comes to making love, "everyone does it," from "the butcher" and "the baker" to the "friendly undertaker."
       The montage ends at the Place Vendôme, where Chevalier is standing at the top of the central column, using a camera with a long-range lens to shoot pictures of "Madame X" and her lover, "Frank Flannagan." At the end of the film, Chevalier is seen in the train station, with his voice heard offscreen stating, "On Monday, August 24th of this year, the case of Frank Flannagan and Ariane Chavasse came up before the superior judge in Cannes. They are now married, serving a life sentence in New York, state of New York, U.S.A." Chevalier's narration mimics the style of the popular 1950s television series Dragnet , in which the date, city and case were described at the beginning and ending of each episode.
       As noted in the onscreen credits, the film was shot entirely in Paris. Interiors were filmed at the Studios de Boulogne on the outskirts of Paris, with exterior and background shots of the Ritz Hotel, the Place Vendôme and various Parisian streets. According to an Aug 1957 AmCin article on the production written about director of photography William Mellor, the picnic sequence was shot on the grounds of the historic Château de Vitry outside Gambais, France. Although the film's pressbook claimed that the scenes set inside Paris' famed "L'Opera" were actually filmed there, the AmCin article clearly stated that, because filming would have been too difficult at the real site, it was recreated at Studios de Boulogne.
       According to HR news items, French radio comedienne Minerva Pious was to have a featured role, and actresses Lyn Thomas and Anne Fleming were cast in the picture, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Twins Leila and Va
lerie Croft were cast in the film as "the Swedish Twins" according to news items. Although a photograph of the twins with Flannagan is briefly shown, and they are discussed at various points in the story, the actresses did not appear in any scenes in the released film. According to a 23 Jan 1957 HR news item, the original running time of the film was 137 minutes, but reviews list the length at either 130 or 125 minutes, the approximate length of the print viewed.
       "Fascination," the film's main theme, was based on a European waltz, according to various contemporary sources. Although it was not sung in the picture, composer Matty Malnick wrote words for it, as well as the film's gypsy melody, "Hot Paprika." "Fascination" subsequently became a popular song, recorded by Chevalier and many other artists. Another melody in the film, "C'est si bon," also became an international hit for various artists.
       According to various news items, the National Catholic Legion of Decency had threatened to give the film a “C,” or “Condemned,” rating, then eventually granted it a “B” rating, indicating “morally objectionable in part,” because of the addition of the final voice-over narration by Chevalier, which stated that the two lovers subsequently married. Other news items indicate that ads for the film, which featured the drawn shade motif used in the opening credits, implied an "illicit" afternoon tryst, thereby drawing objections from the industry’s Advertising Code. Some ad copy was also deemed objectionable; however, the ads did appear in many contemporary source.
       Love in the Afternoon marked Chevalier's first non-singing film role and his first appearance in an American film since the 1947 Franco-American co-production Man About Town (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). Chevalier, who had been one of the top stars of American musical films in the early 1930s, appeared in several singing and non-singing film roles following his appearance in Love in the Afternoon , both in the U.S. and France, until his death in 1972.
       Love in the Afternoon marked the American feature film debut of character actor John McGiver (1912--1975). McGiver had previously appeared on Broadway, on television and in short films. He also had a small role in the French film L'Homme à l'imperméable (The Man with the Umbrella) , which was made in Paris at approximately the same time as Love in the Afternoon , but was released in France earlier, in Feb 1957.
       Several reviews mentioned the film's similarity to romantic comedies directed by Ernst Lubitsch, a director for whom Wilder had written several scripts in the 1930s, including the 1938 Paramount film Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ), which has some thematic similarities to Love in the Afternoon , and starred Gary Cooper in a role similar to that of Frank Flannagan. Although most reviews highly praised the comedy and the onscreen pairing of Cooper and Audrey Hepburn, many modern sources have commented negatively on the age difference between Hepburn and Cooper who, at the time of filming, were twenty-seven and fifty-five, respectively.
       The film, which was director Billy Wilder's only production for Allied Artists, did not receive any Academy Award nominations, but Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond shared a WGA award for Best American Comedy. Love in the Afternoon was the first of many films co-written by Wilder and Diamond, who became lifelong friends, as well as writing and producing collaborators. Wilder also received a Best Director nomination from the DGA. As noted in a HR news item, the film was re-released by Allied Artists in 1961 under the title Fascination . Within the story, among Flannagan's many business dealings, was his position as an executive of Pepsi-Cola. In 1961, Wilder made the main character of One, Two, Three , an executive of Coca-Cola (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ).
       In 1931, Paul Czinner directed three adaptations of Claude Anet's novel Ariane, jeune fille russe , all of which were set, like the novel, in Moscow, but made in Germany: the German-language version, Ariane , starred Elisabeth Bergner and Rudolf Forster; the French-language version, Ariane, jeune fille russe , starred Gaby Morlay and Jean Dax; and the English-language version, The Loves of Ariane , also starred Bergner, with Percy Marmont. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Aug 1957
pp. 506-507, 532-34.
Box Office
8 Jun 1957.
---
Box Office
15 Jun 1957.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1957
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Jun 1957
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 1956
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1956
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 1956
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 1957
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Sep 1956
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 1956
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 1956
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1956
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jan 1957
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 1957
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1957
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1961.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Jun 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Jun 1957
p. 409.
New York Times
11 Nov 1956.
---
New York Times
24 Aug 1957
p. 12.
Saturday Review
10 Aug 1957.
---
Time
15 Jul 1957.
---
Variety
8 May 1957.
---
Variety
5 Jun 1957
p. 6.
Variety
10 Jul 1957.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Stills
Pub stills
Pub stills
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Audrey Hepburn's ward
Ward
Ward
MUSIC
Mus adpt
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd ed
Sd tech
Sd tech
Sd tech
Sd tech
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit pub
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Ariane, jeune fille russe by Claude Anet (Paris, 1924).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Fascination" by F. D. Marchetti and Maurice de Feraudy
"C'est si bon" by Henri Betti and André Hornez
"L'ame de Poètes" by Charles Trenet
+
MUSIC
"Fascination" by F. D. Marchetti and Maurice de Feraudy
"C'est si bon" by Henri Betti and André Hornez
"L'ame de Poètes" by Charles Trenet
"Love in the Afternoon," "Ariane" and "Hot Paprika" by Matty Malneck.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Fascination
Release Date:
1957
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Paris: 29 May 1957
Los Angeles opening: 19 June 1957
New York opening: 23 August 1957
Production Date:
began 24 August 1956 at Studios de Boulogne, Boulogne s/Seine, France
Copyright Claimant:
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 May 1957
Copyright Number:
LP8303
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Lenses/Prints
Laboratoires Franay L.T.C. Saint-Cloud
Duration(in mins):
125 or 130
Length(in feet):
11,683
Countries:
France, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18536
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Widowed Parisian detective Claude Chavasse enjoys his work, which involves investigating infidelities for his many wealthy clients, but tries to shelter his beloved daughter Ariane from the sordid details. However, Ariane, who takes care of her father and is training to be a concert cellist, is fascinated by the cases and loves to read the romantic details in his files. On the morning that Claude is reporting damning information to Monsieur X about Madame X’s meetings at the Ritz Hotel with wealthy American business executive Frank Flannagan, Ariane eavesdrops on their conversation from her room. When Monsieur X tells Claude that he plans to shoot Flannagan that night at precisely ten o’clock, the time at which Flannagan always dismisses the gypsy musicians who perform for him each night in suite, Ariane determines that she must do something to stop him. That evening, when the police will not take action on her telephone tip, Ariane convinces her adoring fellow music student Michel to drive her to the Ritz. There, by sneaking onto the ledge, she is able to get into Flannagan's hotel room and warn him and Madame X about her husband. Moments later, when Monsieur X enters Flannagan's room brandishing a gun, Flannagan's paramour is revealed to be Ariane, who is wearing Madame X's veiled hat. Flustered but happy, Monsieur X concludes that Claude was wrong and leaves the hotel a happy man. When they are alone, Flannagan makes a play for the attractive, innocent-looking Ariane, who does not divulge her identity. Calling her only "thin girl,” Flannagan asks to see her again the following evening. When she insists ... +


Widowed Parisian detective Claude Chavasse enjoys his work, which involves investigating infidelities for his many wealthy clients, but tries to shelter his beloved daughter Ariane from the sordid details. However, Ariane, who takes care of her father and is training to be a concert cellist, is fascinated by the cases and loves to read the romantic details in his files. On the morning that Claude is reporting damning information to Monsieur X about Madame X’s meetings at the Ritz Hotel with wealthy American business executive Frank Flannagan, Ariane eavesdrops on their conversation from her room. When Monsieur X tells Claude that he plans to shoot Flannagan that night at precisely ten o’clock, the time at which Flannagan always dismisses the gypsy musicians who perform for him each night in suite, Ariane determines that she must do something to stop him. That evening, when the police will not take action on her telephone tip, Ariane convinces her adoring fellow music student Michel to drive her to the Ritz. There, by sneaking onto the ledge, she is able to get into Flannagan's hotel room and warn him and Madame X about her husband. Moments later, when Monsieur X enters Flannagan's room brandishing a gun, Flannagan's paramour is revealed to be Ariane, who is wearing Madame X's veiled hat. Flustered but happy, Monsieur X concludes that Claude was wrong and leaves the hotel a happy man. When they are alone, Flannagan makes a play for the attractive, innocent-looking Ariane, who does not divulge her identity. Calling her only "thin girl,” Flannagan asks to see her again the following evening. When she insists that she cannot and says that she is living with a man, he asks her to come at 4:00 in the afternoon. Although she determines not to see Flannagan again, she goes to the Ritz the next day. He is again intrigued by her and admires her for seemingly having the same sort of attitude toward men as he does women. After Flannagan leaves Paris, Ariane, who has fallen in love with him, follows his romantic escapades as they are reported in newspapers and magazines throughout the world. Months later, while Ariane and Michel are sitting in balcony seats at the opera, she is startled to see Flannagan on the main floor, accompanied by a beautiful woman. During the interval, she catches Flannagan's eye, but he fails to recognize her. Moments later, though, he realizes that she is "thin girl" and invites her to come to the Ritz the next afternoon. Though again protesting that she has no time, Ariane goes to the Ritz and begins seeing Flannagan every afternoon for the next several weeks. Refusing to reveal anything about her true life, or even her name, Ariane increasingly captivates Flannagan, who starts to become jealous of her other lovers, all characters she has extracted from her father’s cases. One night, after Ariane has become miffed when Flannagan receives a call from Swedish twins with whom he has been involved, Ariane records a fictitious litany of her lovers and leaves it on his Dictaphone machine. When he plays the recording after she leaves, he initially laughs, but as the gypsies play their emotionally romantic melodies, he becomes increasingly drunk and is overcome by jealousy, an emotion he has never before experienced. At daybreak, Flannagan and the gypsies go to a Turkish bath, where Flannagan is recognized by Monsieur X. Telling him that he is now a very happy man, Monsieur X advises the obviously lovesick Flannagan to hire a detective who can confirm his worst fears, one way or the other. Initially skeptical, Flannagan soon relents and takes the business card Monsieur X has given him, leading him to Claude. At the Chavasse apartment, because Ariane is washing her hair in her room, she does not see or hear Flannagan. Claude is initially overjoyed to meet his favorite subject face-to-face and surprised that this time it is Flannagan who wants a woman followed. Recognizing that the details “thin girl” has told Flannagan about her romantic activities closely mimic those of his past cases, Claude soon realizes that Ariane is the woman Flannagan has been seeing. Saddened that his own daughter has become involved in the sordid affairs of his work, Claude tells Flannagan that he will meet him that afternoon with the information he wants. Later, at the Ritz, Flannagan is impressed that Claude has discovered "thin girl's" identity so quickly until Claude reveals that she is his young and innocent daughter. Claude implores him to throw back "such a little fish," instead of breaking her heart, then leaves. Chastened by Claude's words, Flannagan decides to leave Paris immediately. When Ariane arrives at the Ritz, she is stunned and hurt by Flannagan’s plans but pretends that she does not mind and accompanies him to the train station. They say an amicable, unemotional goodbye, but as Flannagan hangs onto the train's steps, gazing at Ariane, she runs alongside, reciting an incessant list of places she will go and the men with whom she will be spending time in the coming year. Moments before the train leaves the station, Flannagan sweeps Ariane onto the train and into his compartment, where she cries as he kisses her and whispers "be quiet, Ariane." +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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